Report issues call to action over pilot training

by Brett Henebery22 Jun 2017
A new report warns that the world’s airlines need to begin training 70 new pilots per day to meet global demand.

The report, released on Tuesday by CAE – a global leader in modelling, simulation and training for civil aviation and defence – said that to achieve this, about 255,000 pilots must enter the global commercial aviation profession in the next 10 years.

“Rapid fleet expansion and high pilot retirement rates create a further need to develop 180,000 first officers into new airline captains, more than in any previous decade,” the report stated.

This means that more than 50% of the pilots who will fly the world’s commercial aircraft in 10 years have not yet started to train.

The report said this record demand will challenge current pilot-recruitment channels and development programs.

“In turn, new and innovative pilot career pathways and training systems will be required to meet the industry’s crewing needs and ever-evolving safety standards,” the report stated.

This is an issue that airlines need to address now, CAE chief executive Marc Parent, told Financial Post.

“If you look at emerging markets, one of the problems is there isn’t enough infrastructure,” Parent said.

“In North America, you can find a flying school or two at every major airport. But that’s not the case, for example, if you go to southeast Asia or India. We have to create that infrastructure.”
CAE is currently working with airlines and regulatory authorities to develop innovative ways to train pilots. One of those is the Multi-crew Pilot License (MPL) program, launched in 2010 with Air Asia to accelerate 200 cadets into the right-hand seats of narrowbody airliners.
AirAsia’s group chief executive officer, Tony Fernandes, told Aviation Week that the airline’s first MPL cohort was “very talented”, adding he was proud of their accomplishments flying as AirAsia captains.

“This Next Generation Training System [NGTS] is the stepping-stone to reaching a new level in pilot training efficiency,” he said, adding that the system will help airlines promote younger pilots to captain with training based on competency rather than flight hours.

The latest report follows research by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last year, which found that the Asia-Pacific region will need 230,000 pilots by 2030 and have to train approximately 14,000 to meet that need.

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